First the book is fun to read. The stories are incredible and amazing. But I really don't buy the premise that some people have got "it" and thus survive and others do not. The book selectively shows people who survived "against all odds." But in reality there are far more people who died when they were "against all odds." That's why it's "against all odds." Further, there are even more people who set out prepared, were skilled and ended up dying anyway. I do not doubt for a moment that in many cases survival comes down to having your personal amount of "it." But his a basic claim is that if you survived "against all odds" you have "it."
Several firefighters were inside World Trade Centers when they collapsed. A few survived. They did not survive because they had "it" and the other firefighters did not. They survived because they happen to be standing in the right place at the right time. People standing in front of them and people standing behind them did not survive. A six month old baby (with an oxygen mask) could have done the exact same thing (I personally like to believe that those firefighters had more "it" than anybody on the planet). Having said all that this is still a fun book to read if you enjoy survivor stories and particularly if you believe that you have "it." And I believe I do.
The recording and narration itself are excellent.
yes, it won't teach you survival techniques. he tells you right there in the book: survival is all about mindset. the stories are interesting, with a little Taoism tossed in. entertaining and enjoyable.
oh, and the narration is terrific (sounds almost like anthony bourdain).
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, this book is a must read. Even if you arent (and I am not) you will probably be very entertained. Although I found the book a little slow, it gets much better and exciting as it goes. The stories get more amazing and I found them inspiring.
The author draws many observations about "how to" survive, many which seem legitimate, but I found the true stories themselves worth my time. It has made me want to go to survival school.
I was somewhat torn on how to review this book. When I first read the book, I came away feeling like I had learned alot about how the mind works and what it is that makes some people able to survive these life threatening situations.
After giving the book some time to process, I started to realize there's very little content or real information. A lot of theory (which only modest science behind it) and a lot of antecdotes.
I participated in a 1-hour meet-and-greet with the author to discuss his book and ideas. I was not at all impressed. Very little scientific method behind his ideas. His book makes it sound like his ideas have broad-reaching applications, but it turns out that they apply only to a very specific class of person.
Office workers, intellects, and city-dwellers need not apply. The mindset and skills he talks about only exist in survivalists, militia groups, and rural-country folk. This, more than anything else, was the most disapointing aspect of this book--learning that the author believes his book has no value to someone like me.
I found this book to be too much like listening to a lecture and not a story. The few survivor stories were disjointed and had very little detail to them. It seemed to drone on an on about how the brain works, I was expecting to learn some survival techniques and all I learned was think like a survivor. I listen to most of my books many times but had to force myself to finish this one.
The work generally has a fair amount of novel information, and some of the stories of the experience of those finding themselves in peril are compelling. However, Mr. Gonzales' style suffers when he deviates from a more straightforward narrative of facts into what is, for him, the dangerous hinterlands of purple prose. He has a thesis and it is clearly stated. Yet it is reductive and redundantly referred to in a fashion that makes it seem like filler.
The style and structure of the work is so annoying as to detract from an effective presentation of the materiel.
It was fine.
As mentioned, there is some interesting research presented and some of the stories are compelling.
The author's style of recanting detailed survival scenarios adds an intense element of interest, and there can be no doubt as to the value of the lessons he derives from these actual events. One downside of the book (to me) is the author's repeated chest thumping over his own miraculous adrenaline packed thrill-seeking endeavors. Still, he definitely gets his message across. There are dozens of tips about how to avoid the befuddled state of mind that shocked humans can find themselves in amidst ultimate despair and tragedy. Should you ever find yourself in a calamitous situation, being mindful of what was presented in this book might just save your life.
Excellent presentation, though repetitive in places.
You can fast forward through the sections in which the author drags you through his moments of self importance. Or, you might just love it.
I was fired up to listen to this audiobook. The premise seemed great --- harrowing stories of survival with insights into why certain people (not necessarily the ones you would expect) make it out alive. Sadly the book didn't live up to my expectations. My two main issues were:
1. The author has some serious father issues which he feels compelled to weave into the narrative. His Dad sounds like an amazing guy but really we don't need to hear about how awesome he is for hours on end. We get it.
2. The structure of the book is very disjointed. Stories stop and start and take meandering detours into pop psychology. At a couple of points (during the motorcycle chapter, for example) the author goes into a Finnegan's Wake-esque ramble about Hell's Angels, religion, motorcycles and survival. Quite bizarre.
It's not all bad though. There are some fascinating stories in the book and it did get me thinking about how one should behave (or try to behave) in a survival situation. Overall it was just about worth a credit.
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I would in turn recommend it to others.
Stefan Rudnicki is a great performer. About half-way through, I did adjust the speed to 1.25x which seemed about perfect for me and still sounded completely natural. His voice keeps you interested and focused on the book.
This book really made me think. As someone that enjoys spending time in the wilderness, I thought I knew the dangers I faced. This book made me realize that disaster has always been much closer than I imagined. The best part of this book is that it offers important tools to not only recognize and avoid dangerous situations, but how to survive once you're in one.